Friday, December 24, 2010

Finally Christmas

The Albertine may have gone, but look what has come out just in time for Christmas Day.

We are having Christmas with my mother-in-law who is the most wonderful cook.  Always a very traditional lunch: turkey, ham, mountains of vegetables (including the old fave, tomato and onion pie).  Instead of plum pudding she makes a rather sensational sago plum pudding with custard. All I am contributing is the ham and some ocean trout tartare on blinis, both of which I am yet to make but if they look okay tomorrow I will take some photos.

Here is the glaze I use for the ham.  It is one that I snipped out of a newspaper years ago and works a treat:

Heat the oven to 180.  Put some foil or baking paper in a large roasting tin and put the ham on top.  
Pour over a couple of cups of cider.   Bake in the oven as is for about 45 minutes, basting every so often.
While that is happening, mix together:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teasp hot English mustard
2 teasp Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of marmalade (sieved)

Take the ham out of the oven and using a sharp knife make a criss cross pattern over the ham.  Insert a clove into each diamond.   Spread with the glaze and return ham to the oven for about 30 minutes until nicely glazed.

We will all fall into a screaming heap over the next few days and enjoy the fact that there will be no shearing and no trucks of lambs to load.  Trying to fit Christmas into our busiest time of the year is quite a challenge.  The exhausted husband stepped in the door half an hour ago and asked why we weren't either going to or having Christmas drinks when all he's done over the last week is complain about how flat out he is.  In other words, Lambchops why have you not organised some entertainment for me this evening???   I am just loving a glass of wine on the verandah and the serenity, thanks...

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I am so behind with my posts in the frantic lead-up to Christmas.  I picked these strawberries a couple of weeks ago and still have not had time to write about them.  They were beautiful but the birds got quite a few.  I decided to make some lovely pink Peach Sorbet to go with them:

Peach Sorbet

2 cups of sugar
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
3 ripe white peaches
2 egg whites

Combine sugar with one cup of water and juice of half a lemon in a saucepan and heat, shaking pan occasionally over a medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and cool.

Peel peaches (plunge into boiling water for 30 seconds to do this), remove stones and process flesh in a food processor with remaining lemon juice until smooth

Stir into cooled syrup

Whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form, fold into peach mixture and churn in an ice cream machine (or transfer to a freezer proof container, freeze until just set around the edges, whizz in food processor again and freeze until set).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More from the fatted calf

Just when I thought I was getting the freezer under control,  two lambs have now arrived.  It's scary in there.  I know there will be things that I won't see for years.  I'm battling on though and because they take up so much space I thought I should start making stock out of all those bones.


1 bag of beef bones (from the butcher).  I'm not sure of the weight, just what will fit into your stockpot.  Try and get some knuckle bones and some with marrow which will add gelatin.
Olive oil
2 onions, not peeled, cut into quarters
2 large carrots, cut into chunks
Celery tops if you can get them or 2 sticks of celery cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, not peeled
handful of parsley (use leaves and stems)
2 bay leaves
10 or so peppercorns

Preheat the oven to 190.  Place bones, onions and carrots in a large roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil.

Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes until nicely browned.

Pour the whole lot into the stock pot, getting all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add the celery, garlic, parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns.  Fill the pot up with water and bring to a gentle simmer, reduce to low and do not let it boil madly, use a simmer pad if you have one, and cook for 3-6 hours.

Skim the stock every now and then but do not stir the stock while it's cooking. 

Cook for as long as you can then take out the bones and strain the stock into a large bowl, cool and refrigerate.  Remove any fat that has set on the top (don't be too fussy, the fat has flavour too) and put into containers to refrigerate or freeze.  It keeps for 3-4 days in the fridge.

This is what happens if you go off and do something else and it boils a bit too hard:

See how it is a bit cloudy....try not to do this, although the flavour is just as good.  Five hundred times better than those crappy dried stock cubes you get from the supermarket.

This was the Albertine rose ten days ago.  I so love the look of a pretty climber on a bluestone wall.  Sadly the rain last weekend completely trashed the flowers and I have had to cut them all back. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Love a good tray bake

I do this sort of food all the time.  It is so easy and a sort of no-brain, use what's in the fridge, chuck it in when you get home dish that always gets a rapturous reception from the starving hordes.

I find that bone-in chicken works the best for flavour and the cooking time required means that the skin gets nice and crispy.  I usually buy chicken marylands and cut off the drumsticks so the pieces are more manageable:

Then I add whatever vegies are at hand, usually red onion, cut into segments, red capsicum, cut into strips, sweet potatoes/carrots/pumpkin and sliced zucchini for a bit of colour. Throw in 4-5 whole cloves of unpeeled garlic, drizzle with olive oil and grind over a bit of pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt and that's it.  Into the oven for 45 minutes.

I put some asparagus in for the last 15 minutes.  Pour over the delicious pan juices when you are serving. Very good.

This was the sky on Thursday evening...looked very foreboding but we didn't get much rain.